-On the Cave Painting Assignment-
I had some trouble coming up with an idea for the cave painting at first. I couldn’t think of anything contemporary that excited me, so I went with a Paleolithic painting. Because many of these have been uncovered, I wanted mine to depict a figure unique to cave paintings. After some confusing google sessions, it seemed that few cave paintings depicting my favorite mythical creature, the mermaid, had been discovered. I thought this would make an interesting find. Instead of using this as evidence of actual mermaids existing, I wanted it to be more of the depiction of what people thousands of years ago might have Imagined. I created my small slab of “stone” from a padded mailing envelope, old newspaper, mod podge, crushed gravel, water color paint, and chalk paste. I created the following story behind the painting.
About a month ago, explorers hired by a French cosmetics company to find and collect different minerals (often found in caves) discovered a lot more than the ingredients for a new type of foundation. This group of explorers discovered a small cave that is now unofficially being called “La Caverne de Sirene” or “The Mermaid’s Cave” after the strange paintings found on the walls deep inside. After reporting their findings to their company, these five (currently anonymous) explorers contacted the famous French archaeologist Dr. Marie Lafevre. Dr. Lefevre and her team were shown the cave, located somewhere near the coast of Gironde and have been studying it thoroughly since. Dr. Lefevre’s crew has determined that many of the paintings appear to be around 20,000 years old, about the same age as many of the paintings found in the Lascaux caves. The content of these paintings, however, is unique in that it seems to depict mermaids. One painting in particular feature what appears to be a fishwoman, throwing fish out of the sea and onto the spear of a human standing on land. The mermaid is much larger than the human. This may be an attempt of primitive perspective by the Paleolithic painter. Dr. Lefevre has a different theory:
“This merwoman is shown throwing fish to humans. This mythical being may be seen as a religious figure: the explanation for the fisherman’s luck. She is likely enlarged to show her importance to this society. ”
Dr. Lefevre will continue to study this strange find indefinitely and has invited several other researchers to help decode the history of the cave.
Very interesting indeed. This would clearly show that ancient people had just as much of an imagination as we do today. It would seem that there would be some religious implications to this in that people were writing about the unexplainable and unknown. The mermaid is possibly seen as a higher form of being and the fact that it is throwing fish at the people would seem to indicate that the merwoman is at least in part some sort of provider.
-On the Language Assignment-
I decided early on to make the language I chose a syllabic one. This way I could use the phonetic alphabet to break down words into sounds easily. I wrote my key in relation to the phonetic alphabet with one symbol for each sound. Vowel sounds were rectangles and consonant sounds were circles. Altogether there are 44 symbols. This seemed a bit too easy, however, so I decided to play with the way words in my language were formed visually. I was somewhat inspired by the way J. R. R. Tolkien’s initials are occasionally written, all together as one symbol. This is similar to how words are formed with the symbols I created; the first syllable is in the middle, the second is to the right and so on in a counter-clockwise spiral. This makes the spacing in sentences a bit more awkward and the translating a bit harder. If I were to do this exercise again I might make less symbols by having some represent more than one sound, or by eliminating a sound altogether.
(I dubbed by language Acrancircism because it is made up of little boxes and circles)
-On the Cabinet of Curiosities Project-
I currently reside in a dorm, so many of my strange and interesting objects are a three-hour drive out of my reach. Knowing this, I decided to keep my cabinet pretty small. I toyed with the idea of a recycled vessel, initially thinking of a milk carton. This led me to rummaging through my floor’s recycling bins, selecting a few items to clean and cut in half, and eventually deciding upon a juice carton. I papered it with colorful, clashing patterns to my liking and began pulling all of my knick-knacks from their nooks in my room. I began fitting my carton for them with card-board shelves, an accordion-type pull-out, and a false wall. In the end I had a busy, packed cabinet with pun-pins, costume jewelry, miniatures (an owl, a manatee, a plate of meringues, and a book), a found guitar pick, nesting-doll ornaments, pendants hung like pictures, a Lakota wheel, and five postcards of medical oddities. My cabinet is reflective of my taste for the tacky, the colorful, and the bizarre (and of the lovely family that helped me develop it).
-On the Camera Obscura Project-
For my camera obscura I used black posterboard and tape as the body, tracing paper as the screen, and an old magnifying glass as the lens. I had to tamper with the length a few times to get a clearer image. I decided to use the camera obscura to go on an adventure. I wrote down a list of things to do such as climbing something, pranking someone, and going somewhere new. My boyfriend and I put on silly outfits and documented these activities by taking photos through the camera obscura with my cell phone. I printed out some of the pictures that we did take and compiled a photo-album into a childish narrative of our childish adventure. The photos are all pretty dark, but some of them, like the ones in the library, are a lot easier to see. I’d like to try this again on a bright, dry day when we can be outside so that the pictures will turn out clearer.
-On the Panorama Concept-
My first thoughts for an immersive space were centered around a very small one, like a helmet. I toyed with this idea for a bit, but ultimately decided I’d rather have a structure to sit in. I still wanted the space to be pretty small though, and I like the idea of combining smell with images. After sketching/garbage-sculpting some structural ideas I realized that my ideal panoramic environment would be a yurt! And so the absurd concept of YurtVision was born!
This yurt can fit inside a larger building, or can exist outside if it is encased in a larger, darker space. The space outside of the yurt would be dark, because a hole is needed for ventilation at the top of the yurt. The inside of the yurt is just a screen all the way around. Behind the screen are tiny lights that can interpret programs that create different environments. There are ambient sounds accompanying these programs that are played on speakers all over the yurt. Each environment has different corresponding scents in the form of relaxing incense. The brightness of the lights and the volume of the speakers can of course be adjusted. This comfortable yurt is meant to be a relaxing, intimate space ideal for curmudgeonly hermits who want to experience the world at home in isolation, or for the anyone who just wants to escape everyday life for a little while.
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